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Square Bear's Top 75 Project 

Around this time of year, a lot of people tend to make new year's resolutions and I'm no exception. However, whereas most peoples' resolutions are to lose weight or to give up smoking, mine is a little different. This year I have resolved to get a track released into the top 75 UK singles chart by the end of the year. A little ambitious maybe, but I feel my music is now comparable to a lot of chart tracks and as I already have a club release under my belt I feel that I have a pretty good chance.

This page will record my achievements and thoughts this year as I aim for my goal. It may end up horribly wrong and I may give up early in the year or I might suprise everyone (including myself) and actually make it into the charts! Hopefully, if it works out I might go higher than 75 and end up in the top 40 or even the top 20 but I'm going to try and be sensible and aim for a reasonable target. Likewise, if I crash and burn, at least I can say I gave it my best shot.

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Aug 1st - Put a link to the Nathan D remix of How Many Times on a few message boards and received a comment from a production company saying that they were very interested in it. They asked me to email them, so I have done and I'm waiting for their reply.

Aug 2nd - Received a reply from them asking me about it and what plans I had for the track. I'll reply back tonight. Also, I've not heard any more about the JCPenney CD, so I'll get back in touch with them and see if the project is still on. Knowing my luck, it's probably all been called off.

Aug 3rd - Well it looks like I was mistaken about the JCPenney CD being cancelled. I received this email from their promotional people, "...The discs are being produced and I was able to get your logo on the project. I think it will be shipping to us in two weeks. Once I receive the discs I will mail you a copy. I think the discs will hit stores by mid August. I will keep you posted..." I'm looking forward to this one. Finally, a bit of good news for the bear!

Aug 4th - Things are looking good for How Many Times. The production company got back to me and showed me their plans for the track. It looks like they're planning to put all the mixes I have of it into a package and promote it. Maybe this is the chance I need to achieve the goal of Project 75? Lets hope so.

Aug 5th - Have you seen my Photohunt game? What do you mean, no? For those of you who haven't, it's a spot the difference type game. Two pictures are shown and you have to find the five differences between them before the time runs out. The pictures are all based on me and my music and each one has a little info about it. Why is he telling us all this? I hear you cry. Well, I've been approached by a website who make games for message boards and they wanted to use Photohunt in their arcade. Naturally, I've said yes as this will bring me a lot more recognition. I'll try and put a link up when I find a message board with it on, but I've already received comments along the lines of, "whoa, tight game bear" which apparently is a good thing.

Aug 6th - The games supplier also wants the Reversi game I made for their arcade. I've made sure that there's a clickable lick back to this site and the word "Square Bear" is plastered all over the game. There's no point in having publicity if no-one knows where to find me.

Aug 7th - Aug 8th - It's a beautiful weekend here in England and as I seem to be having a pretty good month so far, I've decided to have a little rest from music and make the most of the summer sun this weekend. We don't get a lot of decent weather here so it would be a shame to be stuck indoors while the sun is shining.

Aug 9th - Heard some more from the production company. They want to make a few more remixes of How Many Times then package and promote it. I'm going to upload the vocals and MIDI files of the main melody and the bassline for their remixers to use. For the non-musical amongst you, a MIDI file contains instructions that tells a musical instrument what notes to play. It's helpful when someone is trying to remix a track. I hope this may be the chance I've been waiting for. I'm nearly running out of months to achieve my goal.

Aug 10th - Found out about some more places online that feature unsigned music. I've signed up and left a link back to here. It is important nowadays to have a prominent web presence, as more and more people have the internet and may just stumble across me and my music.

Aug 11th - Saw that JCPenney's have started advertising their back to school range. Soon a whole new load of people will be hearing my music on the promo CD. YAY!!

Aug 12th - Cami has sent me a load of songs that she's composed and sang on. I'll have to turn a few of them into dance tracks for her. I'm really pleased that she's done this, as I was running out of inspiration for new tracks and this could be the boost I need to get the creative juices flowing again.

Aug 13th - Started work on remixing one of Cami's tracks. I'm just experimenting at the moment with what sounds good and works well with her vocals.

Aug 14th - Continued some more on the new Cami track. It's still very much in the early stages, but I can see it fitting together pretty well at the moment. It's called "Come My Way".

Aug 15th - I realise that it's only August but my thoughts are drifting towards Christmas. Last year I made a dance version of several Christmas Carols all mixed up together and it went down really well on the internet and the clubs around me. It was also used by UK pop group N-Trance in their gigs as warm-up music. I was told at the time that I should try and release it. The trouble being, it was mid-December and I was too late. However, time is on my side at the moment and so I'm going to try and push it again over the next few weeks or so.

Aug 16th - Saw an advert for remixers to a track which will be released in November. I've registered my interest and am awaiting a reply. I don't know any more about it than that at the moment.

Aug 17th - Excellent news! The people who are looking for a remix have shown an interest in me. I was asked to submit any remixes that I had made before, so they could hear my style. I submitted my Beyonce mix and they loved it. So much so that they want me to remix their track for them. All I know about the track, is that it is by a new artist called Baz and it is a cover of the 1995 classic "U Sure Do" by Strike. His management uploaded a short sample for me to listen to. It sounds good and they want me to create a dance remix for the cd single release.

Baz has supported Atomic Kitten in gigs and is now looking for some chart action. Hopefully, my remix will help him achieve his goals (and mine!) They are going to send me the vocals tomorrow. I can't wait. I knew that Beyonce remix would come in handy one day.

Aug 18th - It's all busy, busy here at the moment. I've started work on the "U Sure Do" remix. I haven't received the vocals yet, but I'm getting a feel for the chords and tempo through the sample that they passed me yesterday. I also sent my Christmas remix away to two labels who release that kind of novelty record. One of them replied to say that they had passed my email on to another person in their company, so that's good news. Normally, they don't reply (unless that's just my luck). Thirdly, I replied to an advert from someone who wanted music to go with a short animated film. They were interested in Run Away, so I've replied back to them.

These opportunities are like buses, as we English say. None come for ages then three come all at once!

Aug 19th - Mixed news today. The good news is that I was sent the vocals to "U Sure Do" and can now concentrate my work on remixing the track for Baz. They want the remix ready by Wednesday or Thursday next week at the latest, which doesn't give me a lot of time, so guess what I'll be doing all this weekend? It's not so bad though, as it's pouring with rain here and I probably wouldn't have got out anyway.

The bad news is that the production company who showed an interest in How Many Times earlier in the month have changed their minds. However, they did show an interest in Arctic Dawn so I'll see what happens.

Aug 20th - Concentrated on the Baz remix today. I was mostly putting ideas around the main chorus as hopefully, that's what will get stuck in people's heads when they hear it. His record label want a 5 to 6 minute dance remix and so for a change, I've put an acid 303 style melody in the track which I think works quite well. Later in the evening Baz's record representative came online so I passed her my work on the track for approval. I was anxious as she was listening to it, as it was only a very rough concept of what I wanted but luckily she loves it so far.

Aug 21st - Worked some more on the remix this afternoon and uploaded another preview for the record rep to listen to. The only problem was that I've included the full vocal track when they only wanted a few snippets of it. I assumed that they wanted as much of his vocal in the track, as it is his first chart single release but it's no problem to amend the mix. I'm secretly glad that they said that as I was finding it a bit tricky to include all the vocals they had sent me.

The record rep (Jessica) said that she was coming back online later that evening, so I spent the rest of the evening amending the remix to just include a few snippets of him singing over my energetic backing track. When Jessica came back online I showed her my preview and she loved it.

I've just a few minor things to finish off now. The volume levels on some of the vocals need altering, as they either stand out too much or sound hidden. I also need to place a couple of the samples more accurately to the beat of the music. Other than that, it's just about finished.

Aug 22nd - Added a few final touches to the remix. I had so many ideas for it that I've struggled to fit them all in and as a result the remix is slightly less than seven and a half minutes. Hope that's ok for them. I arranged to meet them online Monday to pass them the final version. I might tweak it just a little more before then.

Aug 23rd - Finished the remix and uploaded it for the record people to hear. They said they were going to play it to Baz to see what he thought and would get back in touch later in the evening. Those next few hours were the longest in my life. However, I needn't have worried, as both Baz and the record people loved it and didn't want anything changing at all. In fact, they like it so much that they have asked me to remix another track for him, which could also appear on the CD single release in November.

This time, it's an original pop track called "Miami Love" which he performed when he toured with Atomic Kitten. I have until Friday to give it a little Square Bear magic.

Aug 24th - Had a session attempting a remix of "Miami Love" but without a great deal of success to be honest. I'll revisit it with fresh ears in the morning. I've been asked to think of a name for my "U Sure Do" remix, so I've been giving that some thought. My friends were about as much help as I had expected. "What about calling it Square Bear's remix of the mix of the cover remix?". Yeah great. Thanks a lot lads! :)

Aug 25th - Tried some more with Miami Love but I'm still not happy with it. I need to be 100% certain that this the best I can make if it's going to appear on a commercially released single and at the moment I don't think it's good enough. I told Jessica from Baby Love Records how I felt about it when she same online and fortunately, she was ok about it. I've been asked to mail 2 CDs to Baby Love Records. One of them is an audio CD with my U Sure Do remix on and the other is a data CD containing the same track. The track will be professionally mastered on Tuesday before appearing on the finished CD.

You'll never guess who the contact at Baby Love is who I had to send the CDs to? Only a guy called Carl Cox!! I nearly fell off my chair when I was told that! However, it's not the same Carl Cox who I was thinking of, but what a coincidence that he has that name.

As well as sending the CDs, they want some information about me for their files and for any future remix work. They also mentioned that they would probably be inviting everyone who had a part in the CD down to a party on the Sunday its chart position is announced on Radio One! That would be amazing. I'd better find some eye-candy to bring along but don't tell my girlfriend hehe!

Aug 26th - Carl and Baz have both heard my remix and don't need anything changing with it, so I burned 2 CDs to send to them, wrote a covering letter and updated my musical CV. The CDs played ok, so that was fine but when I came to print out my CV and cover letter, one almighty clank came out of my printer as it packed in. AARRGH!! Trouble is, I don't have a spare printer, so how could I print it out to make sure it got in the mail that evening? I remembered that the landlord of my local pub has a PC so I quickly ran round there (any excuse for a pint!) and asked him if I could borrow his PC. Unfortunately, he didn't have Microsoft Word, which is what I'd used to write the documents so I couldn't print it there.

I knew that a landlord of another pub I go in also had a PC and printer and I think he has MS Word as he makes his own posters for the pub, so I rang him but he wasn't there. Panic started to set in. I HAD to get this in the mail. I was thinking who else I could ask and I saw my mate Dale in the bar. Fortunately, he has a PC, MS Word and a printer, so I asked him to help me out for a couple of pints and he agreed. Phew! He only lives around the corner from the pub, so he went home to print them out. I thought it would be just my luck if he came back and said he had run out of paper, but everything was fine and he did a great job with it. It was about 4 o'clock now, so I ran round to the Post Office and sent the package off to Carl, first class, registered post. Hopefully, that will arrive tomorrow.

(Note to self: buy a new printer)

Aug 27th - Received a mail today from someone asking, "How come a guy who is releasing a chart single has asked you to remix it? No offence to yourself Bear but I would have thought they would have gone for a large name rather than yourself who is fairly unknown." Yes, that's a fair question. Originally the record label had advised him to use Almighty and Shapeshifters to remix the track. Shapheshifters have recently had a number one in the UK with the track "Lola's Theme". However, Baz had said no, he wanted to get fresh new ideas and give a chance to those who wanted to make it in the industry, which is pretty generous of him and very fortunate for me.

It must be my day for emails, as I also received this advert looking for new music:
"Up-tempo, European-dance club ELECTRONICA/DANCE SONGS & INSTRUMENTALS a la Fatboy Slim, the Chemical Bros., Madonna [her dance cuts], DJ Dan, Tiesto, Basement Jaxx, etc. are needed by a Los Angeles-based Music Supervision company / Publisher that is working with a new company that supplies custom "mood music" to retailers and restaurants. It's similar to Muzak, except the music they provide isn't as bland. This particular retailer is a high-end clothing department store, similar to Macy's and Saks Fith Ave. So they want great sounding tracks that you'd possibly hear in the clubs of Ibiza, Paris, and London -- cool, hip, fun. Male or female vocals are okay. Make sure that your lyrics are "clean" -- no profanity. And do not submit songs with unclearable samples. If they are interested in using your song, they will offer a small license fee and you'll be paid performance royalties."
Should be worth checking out. I'll probably send some of mine in to that.

Aug 28th - Ah! One small snag with the second mail I received yesterday. It appears that I need to give them $140+ just to have my music forwarded and even then there's no guarantee that it will be included. That's just for them to listen to it and see what they think! I don't think I'll bother after all. I'm sure I can find better things to spend $140 on.

Aug 29th - It was a nice sunny day in England, so I spent the day taking a few snaps for the site on a digital camera I borrowed. I went round all the places in town that plays my music. When I got back home though, I couldn't extract the pictures from the camera so I'll have to plug it in to my PC at work and do it that way. I got a few funny looks when I was taking pictures of the front of pubs and clubs, I think the doormen at one club thought I had been sent by their rivals to see how busy they were.

Aug 30th - In all the excitement of the remix, I had forgot about the JCPenney CD, which will feature some of my music. I got an email today from Mark at the promotions company saying that the CD-ROMs had been produced and were currently going into the stores. He'll send me one when he gets hold of a few. It's been a pretty good month for me.

Aug 31st - Mark, from the JCPenney promotions company, is looking for some music for a game. He's given me a link to a demo of it, so I'll check it out and hopefully, some of my music will be suitable for it. It would be a good buzz to have my music on another game. You may not remember, but Falling Into You is featured on a computer dance machine type game.

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